Inside SPUNKandCOmpany

by karen Krolak

Word on the web is that SPUNKandCOmpany's debut this weekend at the Dance Complex has already sold out! If this interview with Artistic Director, Jillian Grunnah, whets your appetite for dance, be sure to get on the waiting list now.

karen Krolak: So what prompted you to start a company this year?
Jillian Grunnah: It was the collaboration with the dancers during the Green Street Emerging Artists February "edition" that spurred the choreographic necessity to start something. We gelled so well and all seemed to want the same thing at the same time. The energy that we all brought to the table was so real and ripe that we knew we had to jump on it. I was bit by the choreographic bug a long time ago, but the time is now. I feel more confident and ready to make a commitment to producing work on a regular basis.

kK: I am so glad to hear that you gained so much from the Emerging Artists experience and I seem to remember reading that you are going to include your piece from the Green Street Studio concert in Eleven. Is that right?
JG: That is correct. After working on Thick/Thin a bit more, harnessing the relationships between the women on stage, and adding a new "dancer," I feel like I can't wait to show this piece again. It is one of my favorite out of the many I've made. It's very layered, and I hope that people who've already seen it can look at it and find something new this time.

kK: Excellent! I am excited to see how it has evolved. After reading your post about participating in Emerging Artists program, Arthur Fink sent along several great questions about the process of building Thick/Thin. He wondered how your mentors interacted with your artistic project? He wanted to know if it was it with any intention or message or with your fascination with any kinds of movement or presence? I realize that it could be awkward to talk about the specifics of your mentors in this case since I was one of them. However, could you talk about it abstractly to address his questions?
JG: Sure, the mentors provided feedback that fueled my thought process more than my movement analysis. I needed assitance with building a strong concept and reaching a specific goal towards developing female friendships on stage. The mentors were the outside eyes that my subjective and narrow ones couldn't be.

kK: Arthur also asked,  "Is the mentor a critic, or something else? Does the mentor become a collaborator, or just (not just) another source of light and enlightenment?"
JG: The mentor is at once all of those things. In any kind of art, it is almost impossible to remove the subjectivity, as we all come from very different backgrounds and with different baggage, if you will. The mentor certainly provides a critical perspective, but it is hopefully one that inspires and encourages the choreographer to reach a deeper level in her work. As the mentor views the work over and over, she becomes a collaborator as she becomes more invested and educated in the developing work.

kK: What do you think SPUNKandCOmpany will add to the Boston Dance Community?
JG: I hope that the company brings a fresh vitality to the scene in the raw physicality of what we do and that it provides another mode of storytelling through dance. We exist because we are all dancers and dance makers. We start from a very collaborative place, and we hope that reads in the work. Dance does not have to be authoritative; in fact it's extremely communal. We hope to be a laboratory of sorts for dancers/dancemakers, sort of like singer/songwriters.

kK: I am curious to know more about your collaborators. How did you select people for your company?
JG:We were all close artistic friends who had a drive to work on our own schedule outside of full-time jobs and who had similar aesthetic, athletic, and creative ideas. We felt comfortable dancing with and giving feedback to each other. The company, just like the first dance, grew out of a very natural place and organic process. It just felt right. We are all, minus one, the original dancers/choreographer of Thick/Thin, an ironic tale of female friendship in itself!

kK: Well, congratulations on launching SPUNKandCOmpany and I will see you Saturday after the show.
JG: THANKS, Karen!

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